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Syncretism: Acupuncture and Public Health in Cuba
"Syncretism" is defined as a union of diverse tenets or practices. On a recent trip to Cuba designed to demonstrate the integration of Traditional Medicine and biomedicine, our group witnessed this union firsthand.
Omega-3 Fish Oil: An Underappreciated Element of Men's Health
As a clinician with many male patients -- and as a man myself -- I am all too aware of the fact that we like to convince ourselves that we are doing great, when that may be the farthest thing from the truth.
It's Time to Review
It is amazing to see the changes that are occurring in the acupuncture profession. Let's look at some of the news and events that have contributed to this growth and awareness.
Footsteps of the Sages: An Apprenticeship with Dr. Kezhan Zhang
When I met Dr. Kezhen Zhang in May 2013, I was his translator and the integrity, creativity, and passion he demonstrated as a practitioner and advocate of the medicine convinced me to travel to Beijing to study with him.
Tailor-Made Knee Pain: The Sartorius Muscle
A patient was referred to my office after receiving treatment from various providers with no results. The patient was training for the Olympics as a marathon runner and was unable to run or walk without severe medial knee pain.
Pro-Con: Swaddling for Newborns
The practice of swaddling has been used for thousands of years and was popular until the 1700s, when it was slowly abandoned by many cultures that considered it old-fashioned or barbaric.
Designing a Fitness Plan (Part 1)
It doesn't matter if you come to my practice for pain relief, weight loss, healthy aging or something else. The formula I talk about for each patient's fitness strategy is pretty much the same.
North Carolina Acupuncture Board Files Dry Needling Lawsuit
In early September, the NCALB filed a complaint against the North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners over the issue of dry needling, a form of acupuncture that uses solid needles to puncture the skin and muscle tissue to relieve pain.
The Modern Application of Ancient Mei Rong
Chinese Medical Cosmetology (Mei Rong) has a well-documented and venerated history dating back to the Qin (221-206 BC) Dynasty.
The Concussion-Subluxation Complex
In the Aug. 1, 2014 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, I reviewed some of the literature demonstrating the role of the chiropractic adjustment in post-concussive care.
One Size Does Not Fit All: Exercise and Nutrition According to Your Yin/Yang Body Type
There are countless new exercise and nutrition plans out there, emphasizing the latest ground-breaking research and claiming to revolutionize the way we view health.
Acupuncture Rising: From Acupuncture Anesthesia to Assisted-IVF, Part 2
Acupuncture's cultural and historical roots go back to the emergence of Chinese civilization. For more than 2,000 years, acupuncture needling has been continuously practiced on the largest population in the world.
Too Many to Remember: Tips to Revive Your Ortho / Neuro Test Skills
When I was at Palmer in the mid-1980s, we were given a set of notes in one of our diagnostic courses. The notes covered approximately 70 orthopedic and neurological tests for various regions of the body.
Diagnose Sprain Injuries in MVA Cases With Dynamic X-Rays (Pt. 1)
Am I the only person to notice hospitals are doing a seemingly insufficient job lately in their initial radiological workup of motor vehicle accident (MVA) victims?
Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the West
We know acupuncture and Oriental medicine as the indigenous medicine of East Asia; in particular China, Korea and Japan are the countries of origin of this wonderful healing system.
Your Billing Questions Answered
I hear a lot of the following questions: I am afraid I may doing something illegal. I have heard I cannot have different fees for the same service.
Targeting the Bad Apples in the Bunch
While everyone was focused on the conversion to ICD-10, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services released a new report on chiropractic titled "CMS Should Use Targeted Tactics to Curb Questionable and Inappropriate Payments for Chiropractic Services."
Born to Energize the Human Spirit: Recollections of Sig Miller
Sig Miller, longtime executive director of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC), passed away on Sept. 17 after a long battle with cancer.
Dietary Fat and Prostate Cancer: An Important Update
K.M. Di Sebastiano and M. Mourtzakis published a review paper examining the role of dietary fat on prostate cancer development and progression late last year that does a stellar job of summarizing the available data on fat and prostate cancer.
Making Sense of an Increasingly Obvious Conclusion
Where's U.S. health care heading? Like it or not, the list of telltale signs is growing to a point that stands out to even the most myopic observer. Consider this list of facts as you look into the future of health care in the United States:
F4CP Making a High-Impact Impression
The Foundation for Chiropractic Progress has released details of its 2016 strategy, certain elements of which are already in play. The strategy includes ads, posters and other resources available to all F4CP members.
Chinese Herbs and Pulmonary Fibrosis: A Case Study
"Mary M."* recently celebrated her 90th birthday. Even the former sheriff dropped by to kiss the hand of this diminutive retired teacher, to honor the years she interpreted for him during interviews with Latinas and Latinos.
Which Way is the Energy Going? Are You Burning Yourself Out?
One of the simple methods that I use to define Yin/Yang theory to patients is to ask the question, "Which way is your energy going?"
Mechanism: Experimental Approaches to Understanding Acupuncture, Part 1
The clinical benefits of acupuncture are difficult to ignore, but also can be difficult to explain to a Western audience. For nearly 50 years, relentlessly inquisitive scientists and physicians have been working toward a conceptual model to explain acupuncture.
September, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 09
It's "Back to School" Time!
By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB
Becoming a massage therapist requires a great deal of preparation, perhaps the most visible and tangible being basic education. In the not-so-distant past, the most common forms of massage education were mentoring and apprenticeship.This is no longer the case; in fact, in many jurisdictions apprenticeship is no longer recognized as valid educational eligibility for the legal right to practice. These days, almost all prospective massage therapists go to school. Jurisdictions no longer recognize the validity of apprenticeship, primarily because the quality of instruction is so difficult to gauge.
How does one equate an apprenticeship to standardized vocational training in a school setting? Vocational schools are almost always under the oversight of a state Department of Education. However, as we all know, massage education is far from "standardized." Without going into the quantity of education required to practice -- that's a discussion for another day -- my concern in this article is the quality of education received by massage therapists entering the field today.
Formal schooling appears to have many benefits over apprenticeship. In a regulated environment, regulating entities should have an easier time verifying eligibility criteria. In an unregulated environment, prospective clients should be able to benefit from the reputation of an institution that graduates many therapists. Prospective students should be able to realize economies of scale from an institution that provides services to many students. A matriculating student should be able to benefit from feedback from multiple instructors and peers. But is formal schooling providing these benefits? If so, why do so many practicing first- and second-year therapists indicate to me that they are pretty good, "in spite of" their schooling? More important to the public, why is it that a given number of schools, all with state Department of Education oversight, will graduate just as many classes with vastly different levels of ability and/or knowledge? Has the business of massage education superceded the duty of massage education: to best prepare a student to be competitive as a practicing therapist? Lastly, why do so many recent graduates complain that they were ill prepared for how incredibly difficult it can be to establish a full-time practice that actually pays the bills?
Let me interject that I am not starting a rant on the sorry state of massage education in the U.S.! There is much superb massage schooling available to the ever-increasing numbers of potential students. What I am saying is that I believe there is much too much disparity in the levels of educational quality within any given state, and certainly among states. I see two causes of this phenomenon. First, precious few instructors of massage therapy have had any formal training in education, other than an in-house qualification program. Second, a massage school that markets effectively can succeed financially without obtaining institutional and/or programmatic accreditation.
The scarcity of experienced teachers is problematic for students and school owners alike. The inability to hire enough individuals capable of meeting appropriate guidelines forces schools to staff positions with less than desirable candidates. In my state, an instructor must possess the following qualifications to teach in a post-secondary private vocational institution:
These qualifications are very similar to those in many other states. While the situation of last year's student being this year's teacher is not as prevalent as it was several years ago, I feel certain that many of today's massage instructors have neither a teaching credential nor five years experience. It is my observation that regulators overseeing post-secondary education tend not place much emphasis on proprietary vocational schoolteacher qualifications.
The lack of ubiquitous school accreditation compounds this problem. I applaud those schoolowners who go the extra mile and spend the extra money to have their institutions and programs accredited by valid accrediting bodies. While there are many unaccredited schools providing superior education, it is my opinion that the accredited schools are those that best:
I find that ill-trained massage therapists are not just a problem to be solved by a free market economy. These therapists are a problem for your practice and my practice. Today's clients walk in the door with expectations they didn't have 10 or 15 years ago. We have made great strides in educating the public on the benefits of massage therapy. A colleague I was speaking to by telephone mentioned that potential clients have the expectation that we, as massage therapists, have viable protocols for the management of muscular dysfunction and can pull from a large tool bag of options to benefit our clients. Even clients booking appointments for the more pampering aspects of our trade frequently present with low back and/or neck issues that need to be addressed before they can relax on the table. Therapists who aren't competitive in ability and provide less- than-expected service can turn clients off massage therapy forever. On the other hand, if they lack the knowledge and ability because they were never taught properly, how much can we blame them?
Kudos to those schools who are solving these problems every day!
Massage Today encourages letters to the editor to discuss matters relating to the publication's content. Letters may be published in a future issue of Massage Today. Please send all correspondence by e-mail to , or by regular mail to the address listed below:
Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.
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